According to the American College of Sports Medicine, balance helps prevent falls, and can help older adults maintain their independence because their daily activities are easier to perform. A variety of balance workout tools are available, with "Fitness" magazine listing the balance board as one of its must-have pieces of exercise equipment because of its abdominal-toning benefits.
Balance Board Squat
Place both feet on the balance board, approximately shoulder-width apart. You can perform this exercise using just your body weight, or add resistance by holding a single dumbbell horizontally between your hands at waist height, your elbows in at your sides. Keeping your chest up and eyes forward, sit back, pressing your weight through your heels as you bend your knees, and begin lowering your body toward the floor. As you sit back, hinge your arms up from the shoulders, until your hands reach face height. When your knees have formed a 90-degree angle, return to standing. Throughout the movement, tighten the core muscles of your abs and back, working to maintain balance.
Balance Board Push-Up
Get in push-up position directly behind the balance board, balancing your body on your hands and toes. Step each palm up on top of the balance board, placing them in the center. Move your entire body forward, until your hands are directly underneath your shoulders, and your body forms a straight line from head to heel. Hold yourself in this position until you have gained balance. When you are able, begin bending your elbows, lowering your body toward the board. When your elbows form a 90-degree angle, press through your palms, and return to the starting position.
Balance Board Oblique Twist
The oblique twist will work the muscles of your abs that run along the sides of your body. Stand centered on the balance board, holding a light medicine ball or dumbbell between your hands. Tighten your abs, back, and hips, and rotate your waist to the left as far as you can. Return to center, then rotate to the right as far as you can. Keep your hips and lower body facing forward throughout this movement.
- "Fitness" magazine; Fabulous Abs: 4 Diet and Workout Plans for 4 Real Ab Problems
- American College of Sports Medicine: Effectively Using Balance Training Tools for Older Adults
- "Fitness" magazine; Must-Have Workout Tools; Dimity McDowell
- "Fitness" magazine; 3 Slimming Balance Drills to Get Slimmer in Seconds; October 2005